Running in Unfamiliar Cities

One of the best ways to explore a city is to run around like one of the locals (literally and figuratively). If it works with our schedule when visiting a city, I try to fit in a run. Or if I am training for something, I don’t really have a choice.

Running in an unfamiliar city can be fun but a little nerve wrecking. I have the worst sense of direction ever and worry about getting lost. Most of my runs in new cities involve out and back paths to avoid losing my way, and I often utilize Map My Run. I also don’t have a Spibelt to carry extras like a phone, so my “getting lost plan” is to ask for help. Luckily, I haven’t needed to put this plan into action (yet).

I am starting with this run because it was probably my favorite run ever. Brody, JP, and Bridget were gone for the day to go canyoning and I had the day to myself. My right knee had started to hurt the day before after a long hike (which ended up being runner’s knee) but I still decided to head out. I planned on doing three miles but I felt so good after a mile and a half out, I kept going.

This is the view I had running. It was so incredible; I am positive I had a smile on my face the entire time even though my knee ached. I ran along a paved road for a while and then a hard gravel trail. The run ended up being about six and a half miles.

Scottsdale, Arizona
This run was hot, hot, hot! I needed to do ten miles because I was training for a race and thank God I brought my water bottle along. One mile in and I was already sipping lukewarm water.

This photo makes it look a lot greener than it was when I was there.
Miles and miles of green (although not much in AZ is truly green) space stretched only a mile from the hotel we were staying at. There was very little shade, and I ended up refilling my water bottle three times. Despite drinking lots of water, I was barely sweating; my face was coated on salt crystals already at mile four. It took me over six miles to get into the running “flow.” I also failed to put on sunscreen and was embarrassed for the rest of the day because of my horrible tan lines. Wow – recapping this run makes it seem terrible, but it really wasn’t that bad.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Brody and I have said for years now that if we were to move out of the Madison area, we would go to Minneapolis. With both of us having friends who live there, lots of lakes, and a bigger (and very accessible) downtown, it would be an easy transition. We love to visit Brody’s high school friend and his wife (and son Carter), and this past fall when I was training for the Haunted Hustle, I had to fit in a six mile run Saturday morning. Our friends’ house is close to some of the lakes, so I mapped out a run. I ended up getting a little lost and ended up at a different lake than I had planned but I was never overly anxious about my new route.

The loop around Lake Harriet is just under three miles, and the trail from our friends’ house to the lake goes through woods and along a stream. It was a lovely fall run with lots of active people out and about.

Chicago, Illinois
Back in January when my marathon training had just started, we went to Chicago for the weekend. Brody’s high school buddy lived fairly close to Humboldt Park and ran around that area to fulfill the five or six miles on my schedule. It was cold but refreshing. Because I was worried about getting lost, I actually brought my phone along with me. My lululemon pants have deep pockets that kept the phone tight to my body.

I detailed this run in one of my first blog posts titled Windy City Weekend.

One tip I have read (probably in Runner’s World) is to contact a local running store to see if there are any planned runs. Then you’d really be running around like a local, you wouldn’t have to worry about getting lost, and you’d have someone to talk to. Maybe I will try this when I go to Maryland in May and need to run twelve miles.

Before I check out for the day (and begin grading my butt off), I want to give a shout-out to my running buddy Mel who ran a PR yesterday: half-marathon in 2:06!!!! Nice job!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

What cities have you run in?
How do you plan runs in “new to you” cities?


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